Supplementing with Formula at 5 months?

Dani - posted on 09/11/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My little guy is exclusively breastfed. I've been back at work now for nearly 4 months and I'm noticing I'm not able to quite keep up with his demand and my freezer stock is getting low. I don't think I can pump more at the office (already twice a day) and am thinking about adding a formula bottle in the day as a back up. Anyone else been through this situation? I'm just trying to figure out if I should try harder to get more milk or just add a little formula. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Dorcas - posted on 09/17/2009

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I went back to work full time after 2 month with both of my children. we started supplimenting with formula when I couldn't pump enough at work (I really only get to pump once a shift because of what I do). If I was home then they were breast feed. You do do what you can. Both boys were breastfeed until they were about 2 years old.

Sacha - posted on 09/16/2009

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I have a 7 week old baby. I don't think she gets enough breast milk at times and I have tried giving her formula as a top up but she will not take it. Yes it is a hard decision to make. Personally as long as my baby is getting milk from my breast I wouldn't mind giving her formula if she needs more to eat and don't have enough from my breast to give. If you are not sure consult your pediatrician. Hope that helps.

Brandie - posted on 09/15/2009

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I started supplementing at 4 months because I experienced the same situation. Don't feel guilty about it.. formula is still healthy for your baby, and as long as you keep just one feeding a day that's breast milk he's still getting the immune blockers and the other added benefits through your milk.

Sharon - posted on 09/15/2009

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I have been through that exact situation. Pumping 2 - 3 times per day at the office wasn't enough to keep up my supply. We ended up moving to formula exclusively at 5 months for my oldest daughter. I have no regrets and she is a happy healthy kid. You can only do as much as you can, don't feel bad if you can't keep up the breastfeeding.

Amy - posted on 09/15/2009

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If you had a good supply during the entire first 3 months, then I would work hard on trying to get the supply back up.

I had issues with my supply around 2 months and was never able to get it back up to what it should have been, I tried everything, so at 5 months I started to supplement and about 9 months I stopped.

I would suggest since you can't pump more at work, that you should try pumping for a little longer before you go to work as well as more often when you get home, Maybe pump for a little while every 30-60 min. If your still feeding your baby then you may want to try pumping for a while after feeding him. The more frequently and longer you pump the more your body will know it needs to make more. Also wait at least 3 or 4 days (or longer for some people) before you give up on pumping more, it takes your body a while to adjust to the change.

Also, try your hardest to stay healthy, if you get sick your supply will most likely suffer.

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Samantha - posted on 09/16/2009

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I'm about to go to back to work from maternity leave and although I've stored upo some milk, I know my production has gone down bit and that with the stress of work, I'll only be able to pump once or twice a day so I'll need to suppliment. I think a few bottles a day isn't bad and look fwd ot the closeness of breastfeeding her when I'm not at work. We'll see how it goes!

Gabrielle - posted on 09/16/2009

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I was breast feeding exclusively, but went back to work when she was 4 months. It was hard to pump enough and my supply started to dwindle. I started supplementing with formula at around 5 months and had to move exclusively to formula at 7 months (I was sick and needed to take medication that would have tainted my milk). I wish I could have gone longer, but I'm proud I was able to do as much as I did. Our doctor recommended a good formula for us to use, and we also added baby food as appropriate. My daughter is ahead of the average, according to her teacher and doctor, so I don't think she suffered at all from the switch. Try the supplements to increase your productivity, certainly, but if you end up needing to add formula, don't feel bad. You've done a great job, mom!

Traci - posted on 09/16/2009

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I've been through this myself. With both my babies, my supply was fine until I went back to work. I pumped twice a day at the office but couldn't seem to keep up. I did start supplementing w/formula and eventually switched to formula completely. But there are a few things you can try before you take that step. Others have mentioned the supplements to help increase supply, which I've never tried but I would if I was in the situation again. Also, when you are home w/baby, put him to your breast every time he is hungry. The more he suckles directly from the breast, the more it will stimulate milk production in your breasts. Some women's breasts just don't respond to the pump the same way they respond to baby's suckle so direct bf'ing as much as you can is important. Another thing you can try is when you are home w/baby, after he is done feeding from your breasts, pump your breasts. You may not get much the first few times, but this will also help stimulate milk production and any amount you do get can go straight to your freezer stash to help keep that populated. I did this with my 2nd child and was able to build up a pretty good sized freezer stash.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Lauren - posted on 09/14/2009

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My little guy is now four yrs old. I was able to breastfeed until he was one year old. My supply started to decrease on many occasions but I just continued to pump every four to five hours. Don't get me wrong I did try formula but my son didn't like it threw it all up everytime. So I just tried harder. I never tried supplements but have know women who have and they've worked. I only worked part time in the evenings so it was a little easier to pump for me. I would come home at night after work and pump then get up in the middle of the night if he woke up and nursed. I hope what ever you do works. Remember it's your decision and what ever works for you. Your son will do fine either way. Good Luck and take care!

Deanna - posted on 09/12/2009

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My little guy is 8 mo. old. My milk production slowed down when he was 6 months old. I'm kinda in the same boat, I pump at work and my freezer supply is getting low too. I'm doing more oatmeal or rice cereal mixed with water. My little guy is eating more fruits/veggies #2 and #3 foods and drinking less milk. This way I don't go thru as much milk in one day. Hope this helps. I'm hoping to make it thru till his 1st birthday!

Dani - posted on 09/12/2009

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Thank you all for your suggestions and personal experiences. I really appreciate the input. I think I'll probably try to increase the supply before purchasing some formula. I still have about a week or two of milk in the freezer for back up so I have a little time to see if that works before it gets to be crunch decision time. For those that tried the herbal supplements (mother's milk tea or fenugreek), how long did it take before you saw an increase in supply? I've also read that it can upset the baby's tummy...any input into that? Thank you again for all your comments!! :)

Michele - posted on 09/12/2009

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Before you add formula try a few things. First make sure you don't go more than five hours without feeding or pumping. Try drinking mother's milk organic tea three times a day, gnc or nutrition store may have. You can also take supplements to help increase your milk. Blessed thistle and fenugreek, 3 tablets each, three times a day. this is what i did and it worked, my oldest son is 2 years and my youngest is 4 months. hope that helps

Victoria - posted on 09/11/2009

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I went back to work as a nurse when my son Samuel was 3 months old. Initially I was able to provide all of his breastmilk by pumping during and after work hours. Unfortunatly 12 hour shifts are not conducive to a great milk supply and I ended up supplementing. I continued pumping but always had formula for back-up. Some people recomend various ways of increasing milk supply but nothing is 100% and some suggestions are downright wacky. In the end it comes down to what you can live with. As long as your son is getting some of your breastmilk he will be getting the benefits for health and bonding. Sam and I successfully nursed for over a year. And remember that stress is a big cause of diminished milk supply so don't stress yourself out over it, your doing the best for your baby. Hope this helps.

Suja - posted on 09/11/2009

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HI Dani, Breast feed is the best and if you can try and increase your supplies it wld be great! There is nothing wrong in adding formula milk...my baby started on formula since 3 months and now is abt to 6 months and there has been no issues with it!

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